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Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit

Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit

In Victoria, Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit is found in section 37(1) of the Fisheries Act 1995. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was found to have used or possessed a commercial quantity of abalone equipment in order to take more than twice the catch limit for abalone.

Have you been accused of Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit?
 
Fishing nets and boats docked
Interview
If you have been requested to attend an interview with Fisheries authorities regarding the offence of using or possessing abalone equipment to exceed more than twice the catch limit, you should contact us for a conference to discuss your options.

It is not always in your best interests to answer the questions put to you by the authorities. There are some defences available to this charge and any answers you provide in an interview can be misconstrued and used against you in court proceedings.

Pleading Not Guilty
The law allows for defences to the charge of using or possessing abalone equipment to exceed more than twice the catch limit. It is important to explore these with a lawyer from as early as the time that you are first charged with this offence.

Our lawyers have experience in defending this charge and can assist you with preparation for a contested hearing. It is important to speak with one of our lawyers as early as possible because there may be helpful evidence which needs to be preserved.

Pleading Guilty
There are consequences beyond a criminal record which could possibly apply in your case. It is important to obtain legal representation to negotiate with the prosecution and properly present the guilty plea on your behalf.
This is a summary offence and will be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.
 
What is the legal definition of Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit?
The Fisheries Act 1995 defines ‘commercial abalone equipment’ as – any device or mechanical thing that is designed for use, or that is capable of being used, for or in connection with the taking of abalone, and includes any underwater breathing apparatus, knife, probe, lever, iron or bar.

The Fisheries Act 1995 also defines ‘abalone’ as blacklip and greenlip abalone and includes all other species, forms, races and hybrids of abalone.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority sets the following limits for 2017/2018:

  • Eastern Zone – 352.5 tonnes blacklip
  • Central Zone – 274.0 tonnes blacklip, 3.4 tonnes greenlip
  • Western Zone – 63.2 tonnes blacklip, 1.4 tonnes greenlip.
Examples of Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit
  • Possessing nets to capture more than twice the catch limit of abalone;
  • Possessing a mechanical device for catching more than twice the catch limit of abalone;
  • Possessing an underwater breathing apparatus to capture more than twice the catch limit of abalone.
Elements of the offence
The prosecution must prove:

  • The accused used or possessed commercial abalone equipment; and
  • The possession of the said equipment was to take more than twice the catch limit for abalone
Legislation
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 37(1) of the Fisheries Act 1995.
 
If you have been charged with this offence, you may rely on any of the following defences:
  • Lack of intent to possess;
  • Factual dispute as to possession;
  • The Prosecution cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence has been committed beyond reasonable doubt.
Questions in cases like this
  • Did you possess the equipment?
  • Did you possess the equipment because you were trying to catch more than twice the limit of abalone?
  • How much abalone did you catch?
If you have been charged, you should call Doogue + George Defence Lawyers to discuss your matter with one of our specialist lawyers. A finding of guilt for this offence can have damaging consequences that can otherwise be prevented or effectively managed by competent representation.
 

The offence of Use or Possess Abalone Equipment to Exceed More Than Twice Catch Limit (s37(1) of the Fisheries Act 1995) carries a maximum fine of 200 penalty units (around $33,000) or 12 months imprisonment. It should be noted that more significant breaches of this section would see a penalty in the higher end of the sentencing range. For example, the scale of the commercial equipment used or possessed. These offences are more and more often involving periods of imprisonment as the penalty.